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The Boston Globe

Sports

Coach Ivan Fears likes what he sees in Patriots’ backs

FOXBOROUGH — If it takes a little time for the Patriots’ passing game to start clicking — understandable given the complexity of New England’s offense and the cadre of new receivers — Ivan Fears’s running backs group will be ready to carry an increased load.

Now in his 17th season with the Patriots, including 14 in his current tenure, Fears has a competitive, largely young group of backs in his charge this season: third-year players Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, second-year man Brandon Bolden, eighth-year return specialist Leon Washington, and newcomer LeGarrette Blount. Undrafted rookie George Winn is also in the mix.

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